Tidy Towns Groups Acknowledged Under Community Water Development Fund

Shane McAuliffe, (left) is biodiversity officer to both Castleisland and Knocknagoshel Tidy Towns groups. Shane is pictured here with TV gardening expert, Diarmuid Gavin during his ‘Gardening Together’ feature on Shane’s garden in Parknageragh in August 2020.

Castleisland Tidy Towns and Knocknagoshel Tidy Towns are both delighted to announce that they have been awarded funding under the Community Water Development Fund.

This is a grant offered by the local authority waters programme office on behalf of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

By Shane McAuliffe

The funding aims to support communities in progressing water related projects and initiatives, delivering benefits locally, whilst also helping to meet the objectives of the River Basin Management Plan for Ireland and the wider EU Water Framework Directive.

Castleisland Tidy Towns was awarded a grant of €4,000 that will go towards a riparian tree planting project.

Here, biodiversity officer and report author, Shane McAuliffe, explains the thinking behind the project and grant application:

Farmer for Water Quality

Last Autumn, I attended a local ‘farmer for water quality’ event hosted by Teagasc here in Castleisland.

I learned that the Fahaduff and Upper Maine catchment was one of 50 in the South West that have been selected as ‘priority areas for action’ in the River Basin Management Plan.

I thought more about how Castleisland Tidy Towns could get involved in actions to improve water quality further upstream from the River Maine which flows through the town.

Sustainability and Biodiversity

As a farmer, I like being involved in Tidy Towns because many of the objectives for the group are similar to farming, such as improving sustainability and biodiversity.

My aim was to involve landowners and farmers in this project. A riparian margin refers to the area of land between the river’s edge and the field crop. This margin helps prevent nutrient run off or sediment from entering a water course.

Native Trees for Landowners

Our aim is to give out free native trees to landowners who have streams in the catchment running through their land.

By planting these trees on their banks, the trees will act as a buffer strip while also helping to stabilise the river bank and preventing erosion.

The trees will help to reduce the farmers carbon footprint through carbon sequestration, the roots will soak up excess water and in turn reduce flood risk, and of course provide huge environmental benefits such as food and shelter for a wide range of wildlife species.

Bare-roots in October

The trees will be available as bare-roots in October of this year and we will be working with Teagasc, Kerry Agribusiness and the local Irish Farmers Association branch to identify suitable locations upstream for these trees. We would also like to involve some of the local schools in the planting where possible.”

Similarly, Knocknagoshel Tidy Towns was awarded €1,100 under the fund. The project involves the amenity area by the Ovweg River known as ‘Aggie’s Inch’ and the river in the past was known to be an excellent fishing ground and led to the development of an active angling group in Knocknagoshel.

Area Repurposed

The Knocknagoshel Environmental and Angling Association led in the protection and improvement of the ecology of the River Owveg in the area.

Unfortunately, much of the infrastructure that was developed to support angling in this area has fallen into disrepair. This has also coincided with the decline of the Knocknagoshel Environmental and Angling Association.

However, it is now suggested, by the remaining members of this group, that this area should be repurposed as an area of conservation and contemplation alongside the Owveg River.

The aim is to improve local people’s use of this beautiful but currently under-utilised resource and to improve and enhance local people’s understanding of the ecology and current water quality of the Owveg River.

Remedial Work on the Site

We aim to carry out a number of remedial works to the site, improve awareness of the history of the site and provide new signage.

The site is often referred to as ‘Aggie’s Inch’ as a tribute to Aggie Sheehan who died in 1985 and who donated the land to the community.

The site also remembers Patrick Downey who passed away in 2011. Patrick was a fantastic advocate for the conservation of this area and the enhancement of biodiversity locally. We wish to reiterate to the community their stories and thinking behind protecting this site. The funding will go towards remedial work on the site and also include information on local biodiversity on this waterway on at least seven informational boards.’’

You can contact The Maine Valley Post on… Anyone in The Maine Valley Post catchment area who would like to send us news and captioned photographs for inclusion can send them to: jreidy@mainevalleypost.com Queries about advertising and any other matters regarding The Maine Valley Post can also be sent to that address or just ring: 087 23 59 467.